Halladay honored in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008, and were looking to do it again in 2010 when they traded highly touted prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for perennial All-Star Roy Halladay.
The superstar pitcher had been to the All-Star Game six times with the Blue Jays and won an American League CY Young Award with them as well in 2003. He did not disappoint in Philadelphia either, winning the National League CY Young Award in his first season with the club. He even pitched a perfect game on May 29th, 2010, before going on to pitch a no-hitter in his first-ever playoff appearance as well.
Unfortunately, he would never win a World Series but made his impact on both the city and franchise nonetheless in the four seasons he spent in Philadelphia. Tragically, less than four years after he retired Halladay passed away in an aircraft crash that he was piloting, leaving behind a wife and two kids.
On Sunday afternoon, the Phillies paid tribute to Halladay by retiring the number 34 that he wore for the franchise.
“He gave us a material gift,” said former teammate Raul Ibañez who was there on Sunday afternoon. “But the true gift was being part of his team and part of his life.”
Other former teammates including Jimmy Rollins, Carols Ruiz and Ryan Howard were also present at Citizens Bank Park, as well as pitching coach Rich Dubee and manager Charlie Manuel. Unfortunately, the late pitcher’s wife and two children could not be present due to COVID-19 protocols.
Halladay’s former catcher Ruiz was given the honor of unveiling the number 34 statue alongside Phillies owner John Middleton. Ruiz symbolically kissed the statue and touched his heart once it was unveiled.
“It was special to be part of the ceremony, part of an incredible moment,” Ruiz said through an interpreter, via ESPN. “It’s an honor. He’s always present and has a very dear place in my heart.”
Halladay’s number 34 was also put up on a wall in center field where it will remain with the other numbers that the Phillies have retired. Halladay’s number is the seventh in franchise history to be retired.
Despite only pitching for the Phillies for four seasons, Halladay was 55-29 with a 3.25 ERA during his time in Philadelphia. Ultimately, he was forced to retire due to injury problems with his right shoulder.
“What separated (Halladay) was his work ethic, passion and dedication to his craft,” Ruiz said.
The Toronto Blue Jays retired Halladay’s number 32 in 2018, after the pitcher had spent 12 seasons with the organization. Before he retired, he signed a one-day contract with the club so that he could retire as a Blue Jay. Halladay was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 22nd, 2019 becoming the first posthumously elected player since Deacon White in 2013.
Halladay’s legacy is one of inspiration and hope and it only makes sense that no Phillies player in history will ever wear the number 34 again.